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In re Auto Club Indemnity Co.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

July 30, 2019

IN RE AUTO CLUB INDEMNITY COMPANY, Relator

          ORIGINAL PROCEEDING WRIT OF MANDAMUS County Civil Court at Law No. 1 Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1111475

          Panel consists of Justices Christopher, Bourliot, and Zimmerer.

          OPINION

          JERRY ZIMMERER JUSTICE.

         The relator in this original proceeding is Auto Club Indemnity Company ("AAA"). AAA is an insurer that issued a home insurance policy to Angie and Jay Lee ("the Lees"). AAA filed a petition for writ of mandamus asking this court to compel the Honorable George Barnstone, presiding judge of the County Civil Court at Law No. 1 of Harris County, to vacate his March 26, 2019 order, which set aside an appraisal award of $0 as the amount of loss to the Lees' property.

         We conditionally grant relief because no evidence supports the trial court's setting aside the appraisal award.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         The Lees sent AAA a demand letter, alleging that as a result of an insured peril, they suffered significant damages to their home. The demand letter requested an appraisal of the amount of the loss as provided for by the Lees' insurance policy.

         On June 6, 2018, the Lees filed suit against AAA alleging an action for breach of contract and demanding an appraisal.

         AAA sent a letter responding to these claims dated June 8, 2018. The letter points out that the Homeowners Policy at issue provides:

SECTION I - PERILS INSURED AGAINST
COVERAGE A (DWELLING) . . .
We insure against physical loss to the property described in Coverage A (Dwelling) and Coverage B (Personal Property) caused by a peril listed below, unless the loss is excluded in Section 1.
Exclusions:
. . .
3. Windstorm, Hurricane and ...

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